Why settle for less than gold?
by Terry Camsey, Major –
There is an old, old story called “Acres of Diamonds” that tells of one man’s search for riches. He is so obsessed with discovering treasure that he travels the world seeking to find it. Finally, a disappointed man, he returns home—only to discover it in his own back yard. It was there all the time, but he didn’t see it!
We get excited when someone discovers hidden treasure and are fascinated when we hear of the possibility of its existence.
I recall a television program in which Geraldo (the television personality) opened a vault in which he thought a gangster’s treasure had been hidden. We watched, riveted to the screen, while preparations were made too pen up the vault, only to finally realize there was no such treasure there. What was the rhyme we used to sing as kids?
When she got there, the cupboard was bare, and so the poor dog had none!”
Whether it’s a dog burying a bone or a person burying his treasure, their intent, surely, is for that treasure to be dug up later. (Bear with me!)
It is easy to be sitting right on buried treasure and never discover it. For example:
How many would-be guitarists settle for learning three chords without realizing—or taking the time to discover—the tremendous potential that instrument holds? We, the listeners, are to be satisfied with the same three chords for every song rendered. What is the saying? “To the man with a hammer, everything is a nail!”
To experience the difference, listen to Nathanael Doria on The Wonder of His Grace recording produced by the College for Officer Training. Hear the rich and moving potential of a guitar and how it brings both life and depth to the songs. Sure, it takes work and some digging deep, but the rich harmonic treasure is there, waiting to be discovered…and to listener and player alike, it is well worth the effort. Our God is not a bland God, but one of infinite riches.
When you think about it, a good melody can be interpreted in many musical styles. It can also be harmonized in many ways. From my perspective, however, three chords can get very boring—especially if they are in the same key for successive songs or worship choruses. To clarify, I find some contemporary worship songs very moving, but as many have noted, we get much of our theology from The Salvation Army Song Book. No matter what circumstance Beryl and I find ourselves in, the words of some song learned long ago come to mind to comfort us.
Our songbook holds a massive treasure trove waiting to be unearthed, rediscovered and used. Sadly, we ourselves may be responsible for deliberately burying—or failing to unearth much of that treasure. In many corps locations, a “top-ten” (probably fewer) of these songs are actually “dug up” and used on any sort of regular basis. Despite the fact that the songbook is right in our own “backyard,” many spend their time looking for “treasure” elsewhere, suggesting a kind of short sightedness.
It used to be that visitors from other churches were amazed that in the Army, whole congregations sang in harmony—they knew the songs that well! Most church congregations (and perhaps increasingly the Army) now sing in unison—a pale reflection of what could be and another “treasure” that seems to have been buried.
Some years ago, I was asked to write a theme chorus for a men’s camp in Northern California. The focus of the camp was a sort of mini-Olympics.
This was the chorus—trite, but challenging:
Why settle for less than the gold?
The bronze is alright
And the silver is bright, but
Why settle for less than the gold?”
It’s a great question, don’t you think?